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October 17, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-17

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OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, October 17, 1989

The Michigan Daily

W
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Salvadorans

denied

basic

healthcare

i By Luis Vazquez
Public Health graduate student and
former MSA representative Luis Vazquez
joined five other health professionals from
the United States on a visit to El Salvador
this past summer. The delegation investi-
:ated reports of violations of medical neu-
trality as outlined in the Geneva Conven-
;ions, and looked at the general healthcare
;.tuation in the country. They visited nu-
mnerous clinics and hospitals, the medical
:sehool at the University of El Salvador,
the U.S. embassy, union representatives,
and marginalized communities while in El
Salvador. Vazquez's trip was sponsored by
te Michigan Student Assembly. The fol-
iowing is a summary of their observations
dnd conclusions.
':,Healthcare in El Salvador is carried out
:qgder extremely dire conditions. Shortages
of professionally trained medical staff and
of medicines are almost constant. All pub-
lic hospitals run on shoestring budgets,
N
~ n
4
~ever receiving increases from the gov-
etnment. A meager six percent of the na-
ional budget is devoted to health for the
whole nation, while over seventy percent
goes directly to the military. This dispar-
ity poses huge problems for people who
rely on public facilities for their health-
eare, as well as for the people who serve
them. Of the total population of El Sal-
vador, seventy-five percent is supposedly
served by public hospitals, but due to
budgetary constraints, only 20% of this
large segment of the population has any
access to healthcare. In the capitol city of
San Salvador, the public hospital serves
over 1,000 clinical patients each day, so

obviously many people wait inordinate
amounts of time to be seen by a doctor, if
they are fortunate enough to see one at all.
Health reserved for the rich
In the marginalized communities of San
Salvador, water and electricity must be
procured clandestinely by tapping into the
city's overburdened systems. Sanitation in
these communities consists of crude priv-
ies, and local streams are polluted by
sewage so as to be unsafe for any use. Un-
der such inadequate and unfortunate cir-
cumstances, it is not difficult to see why
disease and death are a daily part of Sal-
vadoran existence.
While the poor of El Salvador have
minimal access to healthcare services,
wealthy Salvadorans can visit a panoply of
for-profit institutions and clinics, many of
which charge the equivalent of more than
two weeks salary of the average Salvado-
ran for an initial visit. In addition, costs
for food and transport have increased dra-
matically, with further increases expected
under new austerity measures to be taken
by the Nationalist Republican Alliance
(ARENA) government.
There is much evidence of child malnu-
trition throughout the nation, while pre-
ventable diseases (ie., measles, dehydration
from diarrhea) claim the lives of many
more children. A recent measles epidemic
caused many deaths, depleted precious
medical supplies, and burdened an already
overtaxed healthcare system. Infant mortal-
ity rates continue to be high. United
States embassy statistics claim the infant
mortality rate to be 50/1000 live births,
while a representative from the medical
school at the University of El Salvador be-
lieves the rate to be 80/1000. Unofficial
reports from the countryside, in conflictive
zones, claim the infant mortality rate ap-
proaches 140/1000. Reliable statistics are
difficult to accumulate since most people
cannot afford to go to hospitals and clin-
ics, hence many births, deaths, and dis-
eases go unrecorded.
Politics of healthcare
Medical neutrality does not exist in El
Salvador. Health and healthcare are highly
politicized. The Salvadoran military and

police establishment appears to be the
single largest impediment to the delivery
of healthcare to the majority of the popu-
lation. Medical and dental students live
under close scrutiny of the military and
police, and are prohibited from treating
any potentially war-related injuries during
their clinical training in the marginal
communities. Military personnel routinely
patrol public hospitals, exacerbating an al-
ready tense climate. Union-run and church-
based clinics are subject to repeated ran-
sacking by the Treasury Police and
paramilitary groups. Medicines and sup-
plies are confiscated, medical equipment is
destroyed, and healthworkers are detained
and abused by the military who claim that
these clinics are somehow affiliated with
the Farabundo Marti National Liberation
Front (FMLN) - the military opposition
to the Salvadoran government. Proof of
such affiliation with the guerillas is usu-
ally not given, nor is restitution ever made
by the government for these raids.
After a seven week standoff, on October
7, 47 wounded FMLN combatants who
peacefully occupied the cathedral in San
Salvador, were allowed by Salvadoran
president Alfredo Cristiani to be evacuated
from the country to seek needed medical
attention. But many other wounded FMLN
combatants remain in the country, pre-

vented by the government from being
evacuated, and many more are injured each
day the war continues. New restrictions by
the military on the free movement of med-
ical supplies prevents rural healthcare pro-
grams from being developed.
El Salvador is a signatory of the
Geneva Conventions of 1949 which pro-
vide for evacuation and treatment of
wounded combatants. As the previous ex-

Foreign healthworkers at risk
Our delegation is concerned about an
apparent campaign by the ARENA gov-
ernment to expel foreign healthworkers
and educators. One member of our delega-
tion interviewed two Catholic church
healthworkers, Dr. Nathan Kamliot and
nurse Beatriz Colapietro, who were de-

'One member of our delegation interviewed two Catholic
church healthworkers, Dr. Nathan Kamliot and nurse Beatriz
Colapietro, who were detained by the Treasury Police and ac-
cused of having links to the guerrillas. They were physically

mistreated and psychologically
were then deported.'

tortured while in custody and

amples indicate, the government is clearly
in violation of these accords.
Ironically, the Catholic and Lutheran
churches are being persecuted for their
work with the poor. Even Jesuits are la-
belled "Marxists" by extreme right-wing
groups which maintain political control
over El Salvador. Only certain right-wing
evangelical sects are allowed to work with
the poor or in the countryside without
government harassment or being called
"communists."

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WHO calms A EcK AWN FcK, CAE MiwoN, 7Wb MiwoN M4*
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R k RFI i3Y NOW..
MATH S Z OWN .: c
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tained by the Treasury Police and accused
of having links to the guerrillas. They
were physically mistreated and psycholog-
ically tortured while in custody and were
then deported. Other foreign healthworkers
report threats to their safety and fear that@
they will also be deported. In the month of
July, 20 people from different nations
found that their resident visas were invali-
dated by the government, also accused of
collaboration with the FMLN.
U.S. supports abuse of
human rights
The war in El Salvador must end, and the
United States government holds the keys
to peace. Continued military support of
the ARENA government in El Salvador
without explicit requirements of reforms
in healthcare, human rights, and the most
basic human services belies U.S. claims
of support for peace in Central America.
The unfortunate truth is that $1.5 million
U.S. tax dollars per day, - $3.5 billion
over the last ten years - has not brougtt@
El Salvador any closer to peace, nor has it
bought economic prosperity or basic ser-
vices for the poor. We would like to ex-
press moral outrage at the funding of a
military establishment intent on commit-
ting the worst human rights abuses, con-
tinuing an unwinnable war and neglecting
the basic health needs of the Salvadoran
people.

.

3be £kbtjan &uI
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.

Derecognize CCF:
Don't fund discrimination

Vol. C, No. 30

Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Reject Duderstadt's token gestures:
Demand student input

LAST WEEK President James Duder-
stadt continued to uphold the tradition
by which he was put into office -
subversion of all established demo-
cratic processes.
After by-passing any student input
on the newly instituted "interim" anti-
discriminatory harassment policy by
invoking regental by-law 2.01, Duder-
stadt is now making a token gesture of
compliance with the demand of student
activists that there be student input in
the creation of the University's policy.
Duderstadt has charged three campus
groups with the task of recreating what
already exists: a committee of students,
faculty and administrators which is to
work specifically on the issue of con-
duct rules. The University Council was
established to formulate and propose
conduct rules. under University Board
of Regents by-law 7.02. 7.02 states
that U-Council must approve any code
of conduct before it is implemented.
However, since students on the Coun-
cil have refused to accept a code of
conduct that does not apply equally to
students, faculty and administrators,
the regents have threatened to dissolve
it if it can not reach a compromise.
Fnrmpr I Inivervitv President Flemina

not have the power of the U-Council to
block questionable student conduct
policies. Nor are the number of student
representatives on these committees
equal to the number of faculty and staff
members - although the conduct code
in question would apply only to stu-
dents. In fact Duderstadt believes that
the opinion of three students is enough
to provide the information which will
be used as background for preparing a
permanent policy.
The demand for an anti-discrimina-
tion harassment policy was originally a
demand by anti-racist student activists.
Duderstadt continues to turn a deaf ear
to their demands that students partici-
pate in the construction of such policy.
By creating the advisory committees
Duderstadt is simply trying to quell the
protest against his unilateral policy-
making decisions. Even if students are
on these advisory committees it does
not guarantee that student input will be
adhered to by the administration. These
committees in no way empower stu-
dents as was demanded by those who
originally protested the University's
lack of commitment to creating a racist-
free University.

By Linda Kurtz
Jim Huggins, in his October 16 letter to 1
the Daily, ("Let CCF be recognized,") has
completely misunderstood the reason the
Central Student Judiciary (CSJ) derecog- 1
nized the Cornerstone Christian Fellow-
ship (CCF) last winter. CCF was not 4
derecognized because its causes are
"offensive" or because it has a "different
opinion on what truth is" than does the
Lesbian and Gay Rights Organizing
Committee (LaGROC).
CCF was derecognized because it dis-
criminates against lesbians and gay men. ;
LaGROC, in keeping with the MSA Con- <
stitution and its own principles, does not
prohibit membership to anyone. Anyone
can be a member of LaGROC - gay,
straight, Christian, atheist, Muslim, etc.j
LaGROC could mount an argument simi-
lar to the one put forth by CCF which
would justify the exclusion of Christians
from this group.
At last winter's CSJ hearing, CCF pre-
sented its constitution to MSA. This con-
stitution states that anyone who practices
"unscriptual conduct," which includes sex- ;
ual relations with a person of the same 1
sex, cannot be a member. Preacher Mike
tried to evade the question of whether or
not his group would exclude lesbians and
gay men, but when it came right down to
it he had to grudgingly admit to CSJ that
any lesbian or gay man who was admitted

'Preacher Mike tried to evade the question of whether or not
his group would exclude lesbians and gay men, but when it
came right down to it he had to grudgingly admit to CSJ that
any lesbian or gay man who was admitted to the group on a
"trial" basis and did not cease his or her unscriptured conduct
would be effectively dismissed from the group.

to the group on a "trial" basis and did not
cease his or her unscriptured conduct
would be effectively dismissed from the
group.
LAGROC could assent that Christians,
in particular fundamentalist Christians,
hold beliefs and practice certain behaviors
that are antithetical to the promotion of
gay rights and which tangibly degrade the.
lives of gay people. We could argue that

all students. That does not mean that a
particular group cannot adhere to a politi-
cal ideology or promote certain causes.
Certainly, there are a number of groups on
this campus which, while open to people
of all sexual orientations are unabashedly
anti-gay.
In asking whether or not CCF should be
derecognized, we do not even have to ask
the question of whether homosexuality is

this is a fundamental belief of our group,
that we find the practice of Christianity to
be immoral because of its negative impact
on the lives of so many people, and that,
therefore, we cannot allow practicing
Christians to belong to our group.
This is the same logic CCF has used.
The only difference between this argument
and the one they propound is that theirs is
buttressed by 2000 years of history en-
veloped in a mystical cloud of holiness,
upheld by many of the world's most pow-
erful nations, and believed by the majority
of people in this country.
Any group on this campus must be
open to all students because it is funded by

a choice. I did not choose to be gay. I am
gay, just as I am a woman. But even had I
chosen to be gay, CCF could not, under
the MSA Constitution, discriminate
against me, for the MSA Constitution
prohibits discrimination on the basis of
political belief.
CCF should be derecognized. They be-
gin to discriminate at the moment an
openly gay woman or man walks through
their door. We cannot sanction such be-
havior at this university.
Linda Kurtz is a member of LaGROC.

..............:..* ... . 1L."..:* * *............
................................................
t~ettes to t'~..E

In defense
of East
Quad
To the Daily:
I am a first-year student from

had been
about? For
orientation

warned so much
after my summer
here in August,

where almost everyone there
from Michigan told me how
much I would hate living in
East Quad, I was just a little
disappointed. Because as it
turns out, most people here re-

estly think that there is some-
thing so different about East
Quad? Well, perhaps there is.
After all, the dorm lies in the
perfect spot on campus -
right in the middle of every-
thing. Our R.A.'s are called
R.F.'s (for "resident fellows").
We have the Residential Col-

me - I lived there my first
year, too - you'll hate it by
the end. The people are just too
way out." Well, needless to
say I didn't go back to Phi Si.
In fact I did not rush any frats
more than two nights. Why,
you ask? Because I have made
so many friends in East Quad

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